Shades | Rebecca Kaiser Gibson
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
On the occasion of his sudden death, the lavish obituary that had been filed for years, updated periodically over the decades, and almost to the end requiring additions and addendums, was finally complete and appeared on all but one continent.
Abe's life had nearly spanned a century, so references from horse and buggy travel to hyper-speed planes were made, from coal chunk winters to solar panels. The rabbi had an easy time with clichés to his unfamiliar congregation.
The rabbi’s cheek fluttered as he spoke; he was pleased that in spite of the family’s rejection of the orthodoxies of faith, they’d all dressed in black. Abe had been a diplomat in a string of administrations: Truman’s, Kennedy’s, Carter’s and Clinton’s. He’d served in Africa, England and Hungary. Starting in Brooklyn, he studied in Wisconsin, then, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. His accomplishments were numerous, his memory prodigious, his ambition profound, and his regret, gargantuan.
ALWAYS OUT OF TIME
Hours salting lemons into pint jars
wouldn’t transform his bitterness to grinning;
nor would pouring rainwater on petals
plucked from roses, tenderly, for steeping.
He never meant to marinate in joy
or any other servitude to time,
but flaunted near some swooning tip of time,
his sleeves rolled to the elbows, cap ajar,
he learned his lessons; wouldn’t join
frivolity. His furrowed brow a grim
belief in destiny so rarely seen.
He flared, he flourished, won pedantically.
Eschewing boyhood’s vagaries, he pedaled
onward toward his goals, imposing timelines,
disciplined in practice, intention steeped,
so focused he didn’t notice, didn’t adjust,
repeated. Bloody-minded, always grim,
olived-skinned and urgent, reluctant Jew,
reciting Torah, competent, no joy.
He swirled like dervishes, centripetal:
drawn to himself, so dizzily engrained
he never knew the stunning width of time.
So stuffed into his hours, lists, enjambed
so never finished, never even stopped,
but catapulted hurdles, steeplechased,
took the jumps like single-minded jousting.
Pointedly he nailed corrections, jarring
lessers with triumphant petulance.
The seasons passed without a shift in time
or sense of time. As if a gratitude,
a blending time and sweetness with his grit,
would undermine authority, would stop
and render him reduced, dissolved in time.
If he didn’t wilt, he might preserve, a joy.
He didn’t allow that gentle petals
though they’d fade, can offer all that’s jazz.
NOT MENTIONED by the rabbi
His obsession with the money he might have made
he’d played the stock market better, not mentioned
to dominate with incontrovertible versions of political history.
(Nor, though he’d cultivated debate ––
the impossibility of any of his sons to convince him.)
His daughter-in-law will not speak
of the challenge to her husband, Len. His prying into
layers of Len’s life. His role as final arbiter. She’ll not miss
his ranking women based on beauty
nor his stilted backseat critique of her.
Not mentioned, his vanity, his wavy full
head of hair and carefully trim physique.
Nor his fear of illness, fear of contact,
of the physical.
Nor spoken, our collective relief
he’d died so fast, no warning,
even to himself.
Picture Abe, the light-skinned boy of nine brothers and sisters. Abe had come after, by four, the wonder son, Oscar, the silver O, the handsomest, most brilliant, more thoughtful, most loving, tallest, most proficient in English. Oscar, Abe’s guide, was born in Ukraine but thrived in the New World - knew both, and showed his younger brother how to live in America. But Oscar had died at thirty.
Abe’s father stopped then, just stopped. Turned his grizzled head to his first five sons. and said, “Now you must feed us. I’m done.” He sat, in a green chair, ear scritched up to the RCA announcer of baseball games in Ebbets Field.
I’m told this story as I take an arched chip with a slab of trout parfait, at Uncle Abe’s funeral.
ABE’S OLDEST SON
Len, the oldest, was dark-haired and dutiful. He sees with detachment, thinks his fate is fortunate. “My father’s Judaism was ambivalent,” he says, objectively, at the funeral. “As a child when I asked to learn Hebrew, I was not allowed. The matter was dropped.” He shows no bitterness. Though maybe inside him, there is a tangle.
His heart winced. Even that was encountered with his reportorial headlight shining. Len photographed his doctor. The underlying suggestion was that he, Len, God knows why, was singularly lucky, (not blessed, not so transcendent a claim,) just lucky in the circumstance of his illness. Lucky to have been with his lucky wife, to have been diagnosed by the clever intern at the local amazingly convenient hospital - with a rare form of congenital heart failure requiring instant action. Fortunate to have been spirited, by the hospital helicopters, though it was a rainy Friday rush hour, to a hospital specializing, luckily, in heart care.
Len adopted his own version of his father’s Anglican suit: a trademark bowtie, sometimes polka dotted, striped shirts, never-scuffed shoes. Len dresses always in the same outfit, as if to make of himself a stamp of assurance, of not doubting, of being within and without, consistent.
ABE’S YOUNGEST SON
Joe might have been the most challenging of Abe’s sons, instead of the most resolved.
It wasn’t merely that he the first overtly gay man in the family –– openly and articulately gay. It wasn’t that he’d not finished college, because he went on to snag impressive writing assignments, the accompanying talk shows and speechifying. It wasn’t even the bouts of various addictions, including the propensity to slide through large sums of money, fast. He might have been the most challenging because Joe loves the physical dimensions of life. He savors food, wine, music, flowers, vistas, travel, conversation, and sex. Epicurean abundance, in marked contrast to the daily rituals of denial practiced by his father.
Early on, Joe chose his uncle, my father, as his mentor. He didn’t exactly know he was doing that, and my father surely didn’t understand that that’s what happened. But when my father’s response to the revelation that Joe was gay was, “Well, I don’t care. I love you,” the connection was glorified.
In spite of all expectations, Joe became the ‘good son’. He showed up on birthdays and sick days, held Passover Seders, sent flowers and offered verbal bouquets. Like his father, he delighted in the great and nearly great. He gathered them with his willing wit, his boyish enthusiasm, his cosmopolitan skepticism. All the best of Abe’s networking, without the desperate motivation.
Never mind that Joe collects scandals with glee. In that way too, he resembles his father – gathering evidence to prove that his own behavior is actually the norm. At least he is out, out front about it.
THE MIDDLE SON
Let’s jump now to the middle son, the one who thrashes inside a nightmare.
Philip, arrives at the funeral with his gray hair light as dandelion fluff, blown out from his scalp. He keeps running his hands over his scalp through his hair, but it seems as if he doesn’t notice his hair, his hand, or his head. His body inhabits a dimension he doesn’t accept. His fair skin is blotchy, as usual. His attention is powerful and intermittent. He is blown from one group of assembled well-wishers and family to the next, seeking sanctum for his pronouncements.
Dedicated to flambé ––
Phillip in BLACK & WHITE
He is profoundly and simultaneously agitated and relieved. For him, the lid has been removed, the darkness cleared, the pent-up years of circular analysis ready, ready to unreel. The movie images crammed and superimposed on his internal black and white screen, scream to be rolled out at last: a stream of images that will illustrate his elaborate points, summarized in one truncated attempt, early in the funeral feast as, “If only my father had been in the military, that would have straightened him out.”
In any case, it is too early in the party, only hours after the actual burial, only a few canapés in. Afternoon light is ambient over the somewhat shriveled portulaca. Not time yet for controversial analysis. And then, of course, since we are in a real war, the Gulf War, with real maimed men and women, the notion of the military regimentation to save young men seems particularly ironic.
At least two more factors complicate and result in the apparent disregard Philip experiences vis-à-vis his father and the military.
#1 Philip himself had, in opposition to the whole family, enlisted in the war in Vietnam, earning, it appeared, not a sustained connection to other military men, but instead an academic position.
And #2: What did he mean anyway? That his father wouldn’t have been able to hide?
Perhaps that was it, hiding.
“The truth will not hurt,” Philip keeps muttering, or really, more, threatening – a sort of ominous threat of non-threat. He has some great revelation, the truth, at last, that he will utter at the memorial service tomorrow.
Philip’s LONG NIGHTMARE
No one really knows what enrages Philip. His life-theme is the inconsistency between what people claim as their code and their actual and surreptitious motivation. Philip is tortured by discrepancy and by his righteous attempts to unmask it. He is tortured because he is not believed.
His father and his brother Joe, with little accuracy and much charm, ingratiate themselves. His older brother, Len, appears to have earned the mantle of authenticity without a struggle, by being firstborn. Philip feels always in the wrong place, the wrong time. Born, in the wrong generation. He hauls mightily against the constraint of this impossible bridle, bringing carts full of evidence to bear and finding over and over that they seem to have no bearing.
From time to time, Philip calls one or the other of us girl cousins: me, my sister Ellie, our cousin, Naomi, or her sister Bernice, to announce his latest discovery. The rumor today is that he will reveal his parents’ infidelities at the memorial service.
His worldview, seems as one-dimensional and insistent as the skillful, hyper-rapid mastery of piano he attained as a child, or his photographic memory of every slight, every disconnected bit of evidence linearly constructed to prove a point – all fatally detached from the organic majesty of life.
Philip as TRUTH TELLER
Philip is the first to speak at his father’s funeral service. He strides to the podium, short coat unbuttoned, papers (which he has been shifting though animatedly while the rabbi spoke) hair wafting back with the wind created by his strong strides forward, a man on a mission.
Philip will read today, he’s announced, a letter from his maternal uncle, his mother’s brother, “at 83 a youngster, a minister, an atheist,” he reminds us, pointedly, his eyes darting over the crowd of relatives and friends of his father’s, sitting, captive, in the synagogue. The masquerade his father achieved, now, Uncle Rick, an unassailable witness, will unveil. Uncle Rick, off-stage, will peel off the first layer in preparation for the event of son Philip’s life: the public oration of humiliation he is preparing for the memorial service.
Outside, the day is a windy late May. The azaleas, for the most part, still fluffy. It is not yet too hot; the sun has only begun its summer of unrelieved intensity. Inside, everyone wears black. There are no windows. There are lights on Philip. He is almost where he wants to be. Almost, he will write the true history. “I will have more personal remarks to make at the memorial service,” Philip announces, and runs his hands again through his flyaway silver hair.
Abe’s wife, Patricia, sister of the minister, sits in the front row smiling. She is always smiling now; she’s on medications. She is 93, (as was Abe) she’s glad to announce. “I know you,” she says to everyone. No one is sure what this means. Is it a profound inescapable knowledge? A lie to hide her state of mind? Of simply true that today, right now, she does know? She smiles up at the podium. One hand is held by her eldest son, Len. In the other she holds a Kleenex. She lifts it up to her mouth. She stuffs it into her mouth.
“My uncle loved my father, but was never afraid to call him out,” Philip begins. Reading the hastily and wittily assembled letter by Abe’s brother-in-law gives Philip the proxy ability to broach the inconstancies of his father: the obsessive physical preoccupations, the unbearable distance from and competition with everyone, the defense of these weaknesses, the ability to get away with shortcuts, the inaccurate retelling of history, the avoidance of conflict or pain.
Philip is practically gloating all day. “I know,” I overhear him hiss to a married-in relative, “I’m supposed to feel sorrow. All I know is that the bastard is dead at last.”
I am Abe’s oldest niece, born to his brother Samuel. just a year after Len, the oldest son. In retrospect, it seems that each of the brothers nurtured the children of the other with more apparent ease than his own. Sam relished the camaraderie of political debate with his nephews, the comfort of shared maleness – a sense, it seems, of not having to be careful of some perceived fragility. Uncle Abe was unthreatened by us girls, my sister and my cousins. Dutifully, we sat as he told us what was what, according to him. Why did we tolerate such docility when we’d never have done so with our own parents? Because in each of his encounters with us, he seemed so genuinely delighted, and we were too eager to be acknowledged with pleasure, even briefly. And because we were scared of his quick and all-encompassing condemnations.
When my sister and I arrived at the funeral home, we were immediately shuttled off downstairs to the basement, which was reserved for Jewish mourners. Our Uncle Abe lay, presumably bathed and dressed, in the ritual linen shroud, in one of three pine boxes laid out in the room. A yahrzeit candle was burning on his. It flickered behind the cloudy glass.
His name, last first, in red ink, was on a sheet of random looking notebook paper, on top the pine box, with a little up arrow indicating “head.” Redundantly, a small but authoritative “H” was inscribed directly into the soft wood coffin. It was particularly important, apparently, not to bid adieu to his feet.
My most observant cousin, Naomi, explained the procedure. There on that slightly tilted metal white table, the body had been ritually laved the night before. Three times a continuous stream of water had been moved over his body by three officiates from the temple. They’d signed-off on another piece of paper, as if it mattered that one could trace these three who must have donned three pairs of the plastic gloves in well-marked boxes on the table and maybe even the hairnets, so as to avoid contamination.
As the three of us women stood in the unlighted basement room around the blunt head of the coffin, in the last half hour before Abe would be moved, I imagined us as his doting and demure acolytes –– even though we had not performed, and would probably have been forbidden, the patient task of cleansing him.
I imagined that our prayers raced
through him, scouring
–– a mighty rushing ––
through decades, clarifying,
the detritus of self-promotion,
dedication to winning,
at not winning more.
We, tending, devoted, we,
absorbing his detachment,
also his affection
for us each, indiscriminately, we
who never vied for
nor expected anything.
Unlike in all ways, his sons.
We were standing at the “H,” head of the coffin. His head, protected not just the life-long glamorous hair which was going to turn really silvery, wavy handsome, but the contents packed within, airtight, orderly, with nice colorful synapses quipping, in look-alike cool arcs, zapping from one detailed collection of data to the next, neatly packed and presented for name recognition.
For instance, Abe bragged that he knew Janet Suzman, the South African actress, even before she became Dame Suzman, before her Janet face flattened into light wrinkles and her hair got straight again.
She was in the hospital. I, visiting her with my uncle, was 15. “She’s an actress,” my uncle had explained to me, “married to Trevor Nunn,” as if that would explain everything to me. I remember how he leaned forward from his haunches, his back as straight as an upright chair, spindle straight; his head lifted slightly, his cool cheek to the left and the right of Janet’s face. Abe’s cheeks were soft as icicles, soft as worn linen and cool.
Thirty minutes later, a large funeral parlor man arrived with a fragile female helper and unceremoniously wheeled our uncle out the door, down the corridor and into what seemed a garage with gas cans and wiper fluid and hoses – all the usual garage paraphernalia as well as a big black hearse into which the two shoved the coffin – smoothly as if on soap-smeared runners.
ABE’S OLDEST GRANDAUGHTER
Maude is seated in the front seat of our car, on the way from funeral to burial site. No, she does not miss Abe. She is relieved after years of dutiful visits.
All of his grandchildren learned early how to answer Abe, to reassure him.
Here, I’ve won this prize for running, swimming, Latin declension, anthropology, science fair. I’ve been to the Menuhin concert; I’m being published (I, that is, not my work or thought, but my amazing ability to synthesize, to report, to come out shining.) I am (Maude had understood, triumphantly) a glossy apple-cheeked bride, and have met and brought home a gladiator from Harvard, tall, personable, and with grandparents whom (not who) you know.
Though they might mock the necessary visits, each one has striven to impress their grandfather.
Maude has phoned a friend. “Oh, I’m fine. I’m in DC at my grandfather’s funeral. It’s okay, he was 93, lived a full life. Yeah, my grandmother’s fine. When she heard, she said maybe then she’d remarry. My father’s brothers into one of their typical fights.”
She’s chewing, munching a sandwich her mother made for the trip to the cemetery – the routine feeding of the living suddenly so hopelessly defiant. She’s looking out the window, distracted. Hans drives. I sit in the back seat imagining life from the front seat, where one sits high in the window gazing at an orderly world that responds well to one’s dedicated effort. I imagine that she has inherited a world with no introspection, only acquisition of status. Cynically, I see her accumulating all those markers of success her grandfather valued. I hear in her dismissive description of the day, a disinterest in the undercurrents that are roiling. But maybe she is only young, absorbed in her own fine life, and relieved of the tensions that seemed to come with her grandfather.
As for me, I feel, perhaps because of Philip’s odd and as-of-yet unfulfilled promises of revelation, a dark foreboding threat.
Patricia, Abe’s wife of decades, is not at the burial site. The van that was supposed to transport her here in her wheelchair with her two sunny attendants just never showed up at the synagogue, so someone drove her home. Just as well. What would she do here with that single bird repeating a high, single note, with the dried brown azaleas near the resting place of her husband of 67 heady years?
In Abe and Patricia’s house in London, where he was second in command to the ambassador, before he was himself Mr. Ambassador, there were always bouquets arching out from the vases: long-stemmed fragrant pink roses, sprays of white peonies with red flecks, arcs of dripping lilac and wisps of fern, a sparking sun dappled in amongst the sifting clouds. The arrangement from the lush garden out back, maintained by a typecast gardener, equipped with tweed jacket, muddy galoshes and leathery face. A tall chauffeur who ferried my uncle to his work on Embassy Row in London. The walls of the grand house, a subdued yellow. My aunt Patricia had begun to have her clothes made for her, so she no longer dressed in brown and gray but scarlet and turquoise. Fabric hung in a little sewing room, silks, dresses made by a storybook French seamstress.
Back at the synagogue, Patricia had lingered, long-legged in her wheelchair, her feet – without feeling or flex. Her familiar smile remained, but her mind, we think, is flattened and floating out behind her. She smiles her clear pink and white face, her blue eyes adorn. She has no hesitation, no regret, nothing else she is supposed to do. Arranging the magnificent hours, ordering the meals, charming the guests, overseeing the flowers, letting her husband shine, all this is done.
Abe’s brother, my father, Sam, loved night driving: lights on the dashboard, horseshoe curves, speed and passing, windows down, wind in the hair rushing, a child nearby, headlights, long hauls, friends who were once hobos, meat and its juices, thick slices, martinis. My father’s feet turned out, his body a rich tan, black dots of garden dirt on his flesh, his belly full of food.
Abe was lean, pale, and refreshed.
Probably the beef bourguignon craze passed Abe by. He was abroad when Americans began to drink wine and eat ersatz French food. He might have consumed the dish, but he would have consumed it in health-sized bits. Abe protected himself. Man in a cage, the body as the mechanism that supports the brain, not for pleasure. My father was the opposite, eyes shut over the crisp fields that undulate inside an apple. Sunbathing in bright blue trunks.
Abe would arrive at our house at sundown. In green plaid swim trunks, he’d enter the pool my parents had installed. He’d swim five laps, not so much rigorously as regularly. He’d towel down when the sun moved.
Abe always toweled down and changed in our little changing room, combed his hair, ready for a gin and tonic.
ABE’S OLDEST NIECE
When I was fifteen, visiting my uncle in England, the three cousins, two of us girls, Naomi and me, and Joe, rode in the back on a weekend jaunt to Wales. He’d hang from the straps, trying to prevent motion, holding the edge of the car. I in the middle, legs (long) and up on the centerboard holding my thighs together on the hump, not to slide off either side. I traveled with Abe in a car only a few times. Abe, as passenger turned from the hips next to Patricia, the driver. She jerked the gearshift, smiling in the rearview mirror, her blond hair high off her neck. Abe insisted that she pass cars. When we arrived, Patricia and Joe had afternoon seaside breeze smiles. Abe had a turtleneck face, pointed forward, Financial Times under his armpit.
Years and years later, I’d come to join him, having heard that he was dining across the street from his apartment at a little Italian restaurant, in the ground floor of the apartment building across that lonely part of Connecticut Ave. which curves just there, as it transitions into downtown DC. This curve is a hiatus, a breath flanked by tall old buildings with large tile entitlements, and visitors are announced. “Mr. Ambassador is my uncle,” I’d said at the front desk, though he was not an ambassador anymore.
My uncle held my elbow with two fingers, gripped tight as we crossed the street. He was tilted forward as if towards a wind, the very picture in a book of nursery rhymes of an Englishman with umbrella and raincoat. We were lifted out of the rushing, contemporary street, the two lanes of midday Washington traffic, and instead about to step, as if in galoshes, over the puddles, in a world where puddles mattered, where there were boys with sailboats in public gardens. Abe’s face was high, his neck scrawny.
Now here we were, sitting with an unlikely fellow in straight, dyed, red hair. “This is my brilliant niece,” Abe’d introduced me. It was a proud red carpet of a gesture, all for me, as if mere relation conferred brilliance. He was pulling rabbit after rabbit out of hats, an unending supply of surprising, accomplished progeny, and progeny of progeny. The man’s hair was greasy. Why was Uncle Abe impressing him? Still I felt lifted as if on a rising dance platform, the flat hand of a pleased presentational “Voila.” The hair flopped in the man’s face face as he leered around Abe at me. Abe was eating spaghetti. Tomato was on Abe’s tie, little bits of chewed pasta whitened in the corners of his mouth. Neither the red-haired man nor I looked at his mouth or tie.
I riffle through the photos - photos that seemed fixed, pressed between leather album covers, closed inside the trunks and cardboard boxes, airless under plastic flaps. The arms, in the case of my father, draped, full-heartedly and annoying, the familiar over-the-shoulder gesture of whoever else was in the photos, over and over the same gesture. But suddenly now, years later, the photos shift. The pictures whisper the story they’d been trying to tell, that no one would hear.
The story of my father, Sam, was in reaching out to people. The embrace, not just an idea, but an instinct. His brother, Abe, now it’s obvious, is always alone, clearly, in every picture, sitting standing, waiting for someone to come. He leans in every one, a little forward, but simultaneously either barricaded, with the crossed-sword arms, or gesturing as one might, famous, at a podium, used to singular attention.
No, dear uncle Abe, it was not some investment, a killing you might have made, it was spontaneity you lacked. You needed to have thrown off the tidy little neck scarf, gesture with your whole arm, not the little grip between the thumb and first fingers of the edge of the shoulder – a gesture surely as much to prevent contact and to maintain balance, as to even slightly suggest connection. You were a man of shade, and enclosing coats. Dress, not undress. This must be part of what your middle son would like to say.
It was fall, 1933, Abe was about to leave again for school. He had come home the previous summer only to learn of his brother Oscar’s death, months earlier. No one had told him then.
Now, his mother’s face was always distant, granite.
Abe outraged, wanted to scream, Why didn’t you tell me my best brother had died?
Why don’t you see me? I am right here. Abe might have thought, Mother, why are you looking at someone who isn’t even here? Wake up! Wake up!
For one flicker of a moment,
a tectonic heave out of the chasm of misery
the dark shadows of her devastation,
attribution of all glory to the dead
up out of muck and sucking mud
did she raise her mastodon face?
Her thick braids, ferocious
her massive face turned
her heavy gaze
to Abe and reached out –
the other hand to her heart
as if she might anoint him,
as if his sudden anger finally spoken
would free the grip, the weighted boulders of her back.
As if his fury at the shadows
––she leaned a little towards him
Instead, and this is true, her mouth seized into a crooked grimace. Her eyes, clouded, raced far, farther than ever and a thick drape dropped over them. Opaque.
Not seeing, she toppled forward to the floor before him, and did not move. Ever.
Abe never told the story, or sought comfort from his mother, gone, his wife, or any one.
By self-restraint, he held
out. Held out. Held in
every sweep of sequence.
Could pin down the who, the where
what happened, could remember
– each teacher, name
each book read
all his years after.
FLIGHT AFTER DEATH
If in the company of two animal-faced angels
his pale feet straight before –– as written by Ezekiel ––
his eyes flamboyant auroras,
always to the Shekhinah,
downcast in the medieval
mind, where snails cure infection ––
if having spoken Holy Holy Holy
over the echoic decades,
holy corridors reverberating
in the fretwork worked intricacies
of data, dates and details, he’d crouched
in his bow, and ready to fly
with one on each side, winged
and furred, lifting him
by his ever-bent elbows
as dust, to fly
his heels become a young deer’s
a bent angle of a self––
he’d be empty now.
His stories spun out ––
a long tail over the hills.
“Then she’d died right in front of him just as he was to go back to school, angry with her about her not thinking of anyone but Oscar,” Philip announces. “And that would explain just about everything about him,” Philip claims, triumphantly.
Philip has tried to garner triumph in the telling. But none of us is listening.
Editor's Note: A version of the section "Flight After Death" appeared in Tupelo Quarterly in 2013
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson’s poetry collections are Girl as Birch, (2022), and OPINEL (2015) from Bauhan Publishing. Her poems appear in Agni; Barrow Street, Field; Green Mountains Review; Greensboro Review; Interim, Harvard Review; Massachusetts Review; Ocean State Review; Passengers; Salamander; Slate; Tupelo Quarterly; The Antigonish Review and VerseDaily among others. Her first novel, The Promise of a Normal Life is forthcoming from Arcade Publishing, 2023.She’s received fellowships from MacDowell, the Massachusetts Cultural Council,Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and was a Fulbright Scholar teaching poetry in India. After teaching poetry at Tufts University for 23 years, she founded The Loom, Poetry in Harrisville, a poetry reading series. www.rebeccakaisergibson.com